Case History: The Children of PS 123

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PS 123

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ― Frederick Douglass

Midtown Manhattan is thousands of miles away from PS 123 in Harlem in status but converts to five statute miles. The community, which begins north of 116th street in Manhattan, was once a proud Italian and Jewish community. A proud African American community is known for blues and jazz, the original American musical genre. Then politicians and activists discovered they could make more money screaming about poverty than curing it. So they did what undertakers do, turn tragedy into a good living.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface, and the Spirit hovered over the waters.

Bill de Blasio, New York’s current Mayor, a paragon of incompetence, is a child of German heritage masquerading as ethnic, whose original name was Warren Wilhelm Jr. De Blasio or Willhelm, if you want to be accurate, believes $35 million on racial bias consulting for Hispanic teachers is a better route for children than mousepads for computers. I know, because I had to buy them.

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PS 123 Halloween (Photo: Facebook)


I received an email from one of the boys who asked if I was ever left behind in school. It was one of the few times in my life I can recall wishing that I had been. In those days, being left behind scarred you. I worked up an answer that he was a child who had gifts that took longer to unwrap. I’m still not sure if he felt better, but I did. It was a hard question, one of many. Call it a random act of kindness.

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“The accident of birth is a principal source of inequality in children in America today.” — NCBI Study 2015

  • The study examined 424 children, nearly half African American, from Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods between 1997 and 2002 to see what happens to lives caught up in a maelstrom of poverty and dysfunction. They were first-graders with an average age of six. In the African American sample, 63% of families had an annual income of less than $20,000. Nearly 31% had one or more parental adversities, and less than 14% lived with a father in the same house. Here are the findings:
  • Children are disadvantaged beginning in infancy.
  • More than 50% of the children’s households experience parental arrest, drug or alcohol use, or other criminal activities.
  • Only 2% go to high performing schools.
  • Only 14% live with their father in the same household.
  • Having a father in the household significantly reduced the risk of behavioral problems and repeating a grade.

Author of “Be Somebody — Extraordinary Lives” (published 2021); 2019 Telly Award for Documentary; ex-publisher @Forbes

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